I earn – I’m not – I don’t want to claim I’m a scholar of great stature, but I have made a certain reputation for myself, I’ve published several books, I’ve never been able to get a permanent teaching job.
Working alone on a poem, a poet is of all artists the most free. The poem can be written with a modicum of technology, and can be published, in most cases, quite cheaply.
I wrote some bad poetry that I published in North African journals, but even as I withdrew into this reading, I also led the life of a kind of young hooligan.
What I want, when I write a poem, is no more than this: that it be preserved in some published form so that, in principle, someone, somewhere, will be able to find it and read it. That is all I need, as a poet, and that is the beauty, the luxury of my position. My lyric is mine and remains mine. Nobody can ruin it.
I did an audiobook for ‘Rough Crossings,’ which I thought was one of the best books I had published. But it was an absolute embarrassment to read it. All these horrible mucked-up bits of syntax, over-the-top adjectives. I found myself editing it while reading. Alert listeners will notice the difference.
Up until my first book was published, I had all this potential, people would say, and I screwed up. After it, I could say: ‘No, I didn’t screw up.’
The first problem of the media is posed by what does not get translated, or even published in the dominant political languages.
I finally had to go to the American Civil Liberties Union here in northern California to get my reply published to what I considered to be a hatchet job done by Stanley Crouch.
My first collection of poems was published by Bloodaxe Books, which was then a very new imprint.
I have published so many books in so many years. I can’t complain about any lack of attention. But I’ve never been placed as a Southern writer, which I really am. So I was happy finally to be published by someone in the South.